Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slurping Turtle

Location: 116 W Hubbard St.
Cost: About $25 per person

I had a bit of a cold a few weeks ago and was starting to feel better, but I was convinced I needed some good soup to put me in the clear. I'd heard that there was this great new ramen noodle place in River North that I had to try, and I thought it would be perfect for this situation. I grabbed my friend Sophia, and we went to try out Slurping Turtle.

Slurping Turtle has a pretty funky design. They've got a huge communal table in the center of the dining room surrounded by some prop up tables and a bar in the front of the restaurant. In the back there are a smattering of booths and a tiny second floor with a few more tables overlooking the rest of the house. We went at 7:00 on a Saturday and had to wait about half an hour. There was limited waiting room at the bar, but we managed to elbow our way in and enjoy one of their rarer Japanese beers on tap. We ended up getting sat in the middle of the large communal table.

Our service was prompt, and our waitress took plenty of time to explain the dishes. The cost is pretty cheap for both the area and the food you get. Appetizers were all around $7, side dishes were $5, all of the main noodle entrees were near $13, and all of the desserts were around $3.50. ONE NOODLE ENTREE IS PLENTY FOR TWO PEOPLE. We had way more than enough for the two of us. Plus, these noodle dishes don't make for good leftovers and are often textural nightmares on reheating. All these fools around us were sitting at the end of their meals with these huge cauldrons of soup that they hardly dented.

The Food
We got the ball rolling with some appetizers including the Homemade Tofu, the Eggplant Salad, and the Jumbo Gyoza. The tofu was extra silky, almost to the point that it became difficult to pick up with chopsticks (and for the record, I'm no slouch with a pair of chopsticks). The eggplant salad had plenty of kick and was well balanced with the somewhat blander pieces of eggplant. I thought it was the one item that was too small for its price. The gyoza had a tasty pork center and a wrapping that may have been a bit too gooey. The pickles across the top were a nice touch. I wish we'd ordered the Sashimi dish which is a chef selection and looked awesome in front of our dining neighbors.

The Jumbo Gyoza

The Eggplant Salad

 The Homemade Tofu

For the main course we had the Tan Tan Men which had whole wheat noodles, ground pork, and house made sausage in a spicy broth. There was a ton of meat throughout the soup. The broth had a strong kick, but nothing we couldn't handle. There was this wonderful aroma coming off the whole dish that cleared up any remaining sinus congestion I'd had left. The noodles were substantial but not at all dry or bland like you might think of with some other whole wheat noodles.

 The Tan Tan Men

We got two desserts, the Vanilla Cream Puff and the Sea Salt Ice Cream. Not that the soup wasn't fantastic, but this was my favorite part of the meal. The cream puff was gigantic. It had this crispy exterior closely followed by some rather fluffy dough and a rich creamy center. The sea salt ice cream was something I'd never tried before. The actual granules of salt around our scoops exterior gave an amazing textural and flavorful balance to the dish with a really strong salty and sweet presence.

The Sea Salt Ice Cream and the Vanilla Cream Puff

 An Interior View of the Cream Puff

I thought all of the dishes after the appetizer round were really strong. I feel the need to compare Slurping Turtle and Urban Belly since the concept is somewhat similar. I thought my ramen was better at Slurping Turtle and that all of my side dishes and appetizers were better at Urban Belly. That being said, they're both fantastic restaurants where you can get a diverse, flavor packed meal for a really low cost. I'm giving Slurping Turtle 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Slurping Turtle on Urbanspoon


  1. need to try it again. I have been there once. I was underwhelmed and did not think the prices were that reasonable. much much prefer belly shack!!! and its byob!